The national team camp of the Super Eagles opened on Monday in Abuja as 22 home-based players started the jostling for shirts in the team that will take on Africa at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off in Johannesburg on January 19.
Coach Stephen Keshi told the returning players at the practise pitch of the Abuja National Stadium on Monday that he is ready to take players from the local league to the Afcon but the players must prove on the pitch that they are ready for the tournament.
“It will be my delight if 10 players prove good enough to make the championship roster,” Keshi said.
“I will be happy if at all times four of such players start every game but you have to prove it on the pitch that you are ready for the challenge,” he added.
The training resumed with Kano Pillars’ players - Gabriel Reuben and Papa Idris; who had been laid low with injuries for the last matches of the Super Eagles.
The players have been out of action for upwards of three months but both players got through training on Monday in flying colours.
Ibrahim Gyaran , the team doctor was happy to say after training that both players had been passed fit for the camping exercise.
“The only fear I have is that since they have not played competitive football for sometimes they will still experience some mind jitters.
“But that is only a thing of the mind and the team psychologist, Robinson Okosun and the coaching crew are already working on that aspect”, he concluded.
The first training session had 22 players in attendance with Fengor Ogude, the only overseas player invited for the first phase camping absent because his wife was delivered of a baby girl last Friday.
The session was mainly to determine the fitness of all players invited and their match conditioning.
The players will continue training on Tuesday as the coaching crew finalise the names of the Europe-based players that will join the camp.